Pentagon Delves into Psychedelic Therapies

( – On June 23 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released guidelines for designing clinical trials for the use of psychedelic drugs for psychiatric treatments. The director of the Division of Psychiatry in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Tiffany Farchione, M.D says that psychedelic drugs have shown promise for the treatment of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders, but these uses are still being investigated. The guidance they have put forth is meant to help researchers to keep the substances unique characteristics in mind.

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Biden on December 22nd contained within it a provision for the Pentagon to go forward with studies regarding the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapy on veterans. These studies would focus on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injuries, insomnia and any other psychiatric conditions that may be a result of service. Any member of the military diagnosed with such conditions will have the option to take part in clinical studies that use authorized funds from the Pentagon.

The Defense Department will be working alongside federal and state government agencies as well as academic institutions to create and run such programs. Co-founder of Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS), Amber Capone, commented that this new legislation gives a “renewed sense of optimism” to those involved in the ongoing battle to help people who have long been struggling with such conditions without much improvement. VETS has been fighting back against the epidemic of veteran suicide by offering a variety of alternative treatments.

California Democrat Representative Lou Correa remarked that it is shameful that the US has lagged behind other countries in exploring psychedelics for the effective treatment of veterans. Texas Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw attributed the rare bipartisanship to a sense of hopelessness for those who need more effective therapies that have previously not been permitted in the US. While not denying the promise of such therapies, some researchers are still urging caution as many of these drugs can have negative effects and an influx of enthusiastic new patients could lead to disappointment for those who may not experience the relief they hope for.

Copyright 2024,